Tour negotiations

Sri Lanka planning visit by India

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

January 24, 2010

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Tillakaratne Dishan despatches Sreesanth to the boundary, India v Sri Lanka, Tri-series final, Mirpur, January 13, 2010
Sri Lanka and India are due to meet again © Associated Press
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Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is looking to host India for three Tests and an ODI tri-series, with New Zealand the third team, later this year to help fill the void that exists in their international calender for 2010. Nishantha Ranatunga, the SLC secretary, has confirmed the home board is in talks with its counterparts over the tour, which will likely take place in July and August.

"The Test series is almost certain of coming through," said Ranatunga. "We are awaiting confirmation from India and New Zealand on the tri-nation series."

The dates for the proposed series are yet to be finalised but Ranatunga said they would be held between July 9-24 (ODIs) and July 28-August 15 (the Tests).

India toured Sri Lanka in 2008 for three Tests and five ODIs, and last year visited for a limited-overs series against the hosts in January-February and a tri-series, also featuring New Zealand, in September. Sri Lanka then visited India late in 2009 for a full series, losing the Tests and ODIs and squaring the two Twenty20s. They then came up against each other thrice in a tri-series in Bangladesh this month, with Sri Lanka beating India in the final. In the past five years, in fact, Sri Lanka and India have been involved in over 50 contests - nine Tests, 39 ODIs and three Twenty20s.

Sri Lanka's only confirmed series in 2010 is a home contest against West Indies - two Tests and three ODIs - at the end of the year. With none of the other full member countries having any free space available in a crowded international calendar, India are the only country that Sri Lanka can look for help.

Further, the Asia Cup is also slotted from June 15-28 and there is every possibility that Sri Lanka could host it. With relationships between India and Pakistan not too good at the moment following the IPL snub on the Pakistani cricketers, it is very unlikely that the Asia Cup will be held in India. The probability is if Sri Lanka does not host it, the Asia Cup may well go to Bangladesh.

A further snag, according to Ranatunga, is that the timing of the Asia Cup happens to coincide with the football World Cup in South Africa and the commercial aspect of it has also to be looked at. If it is not favourable, the Asia Cup may have to be postponed to a later date. The Asian Cricket Council (ACC), which conducts the Asia Cup, is expected to take a decision on this before the end of the month.

Sri Lanka, who beat India in the recently concluded tri-series in Bangladesh, will meet them again in another tri-series scheduled to be held in Zimbabwe after the ICC World Twenty20 in May. Sri Lanka are also due to make a short tour of Australia for a series of three ODIs and a Twenty20 in September.

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